Apple Music Festival 2015: Carrie Underwood at The Roundhouse
With the Roundhouse theatre in North London packed full of male thirty-somethings wearing tartan shirts, the chances of a vaguely cool or sophisticated night seem slim. But as soon as the stunning Carrie Underwood steps onto the Apple Music Festival stage the questionable audience demographics are instantly forgotten, with the country star’s opening track Blown Away immediately showing off her extraordinary vocal ability.
An impressive array of musicians, placed on podiums of various heights, form the background to Underwood’s set. Despite their slightly ageing, rock-star appearances – the violinist’s eager spinning of his bow isn’t quite as rock-star as he thinks it is – the assortment of various guitars, backing singers and string players makes for a well-balanced blend of country and pop.
But it’s Underwood herself that makes this show. With so many auto-tuned or lip-synched performances nowadays, it’s easy to forget the spine-tingling sensation of a true live voice; the 2005 winner of American Idol delivers this in spectacular fashion. By her second song – Two Black Cadillacs – she is already unleashing the incredible power of her vocals, filling the venue with thrilling swells of sound as she cries out the chorus of “Bye Bye”.
Most impressive, though, is Underwood’s ability to suddenly strip away the catchy pop production of her biggest tunes. Having sung her version of Randy Travis’ I Told You So, the beaming singer then declares “We’re gonna slow it down again”, and whisks her adoring audience from Camden to the Mid-West with Don’t Forget to Remember Me. Accompanied only by the beautifully soft plucking of one acoustic guitar, the thinner texture allows the unadulterated sounds of Carrie Underwood to drift through the smoky Roundhouse.
Underwood then seamlessly moves back up through the gears. After showing off her exquisite falsetto and a series of astonishing held notes in I Know You Won’t, one might have feared for her voice box. But the American never lets up, even flawlessly performing a Wiz Khalifa rap during See You Again and whipping out her guitar for the brand new Smoke Break. Is there nothing she can’t do?
Despite an only mildly excitable audience – put this down to the number of not-so-young men present – Carrie Underwood’s performance is a memorable one. With a vocal range arguably unparalleled in the world of pop music and a likeable energy on stage, let’s hope she’s welcomed back to London soon.
Photos: David Jensen
For further information about Carrie Underwood and future events visit here.
Apple Music Festival 2015 is on at The Roundhouse until 28th September 2015, for further information visit here.
Watch the video for Blown Away here: